Handicraft of Shanxi
Handicraft of Shanxi
Guangling Paper Cutting
As one of the three Chinese folk paper cutting styles, Guangling paper cutting occupies a very significant status in the art of paper cutting of China, and is called a miracle of the Chinese folk art because of its vivid design, impressive expression, cautious painting and delicate packaging techniques. In 2009, it was listed in the list of the representatives of the human beings’ intangible heritage by UNESCO as part of the Chinese paper cutting art claiming project.
Guangling paper cutting, which is a type of painted paper cutting by carving in the paper, belongs to the style of Huabei, and also the typical example of Huabei style. In addition to the common characteristics of the paper cutting art: expressionism, symbolism, imagism, creation and fashion, it has its own uniqueness.
Guangling paper cutting brings you not only the appreciation of the art of paper cutting but also the feelings about the successful integration of culture and economy. It makes much sense to accelerate the economic development by creating a famous cultural brand in a market-oriented operational way.
Datong Coal Carving
Datong is noted for its abundant coals in China. Not only can coals warm us by being burnt, but also they impress us deeply in the form of art----coal carving. When coals are made into various images, the supernatural artistic life will simultaneously emerge.
Coal carving produced in Datong is the unique art of China, which is made of the trees fossils in the depth of the coal layers of Datong. With clear lines and delicate quality, coal carving is given real artistic life. The relevant records about coal carving can date back to as early as in Donghan Dynasty.
Those abandoned coal stones will become vivid artistic works after the folk artist of Datong of Shanxi province Shi Yuping’s careful carving. Exquisite works of coal carving such as Yungang Buddha, the great people in history, and Mazu are as vivid as the photos in black and white. When they were displayed to the visitors in the first Yungang Tourism Festival, they appealed to a lot of tourists all over the world and have become something they give friends or keep in their personal artistic collection. Nowadays, the coal carving has been promoted in the international market, and has become part of the artistic collection of the tourists all over the world.
China is the holy place of the silk, and Gaoping of Shanxi is the birthplace of silk. Silk reeling was created in Xuangu in the northwestern mountainous areas of Gaoping. Made of high-quality silk produced in the southeast of Jin, Gaoping silk with a variety of types has a long history and exquisite techniques. It is well-known for the four distinctive characteristics including softness, brightness, tenderness and lightness. The best type of Gaoping silk is the silk of beauty. My Fan Wenlan, a historian in early new China said, “In the ancient time Gaoping was called Xuanshi County where there was a river named Xuanshui River. The silk of China just originated here.”
Pingyao Polished Lacquer Wares
Pingyao polished lacquer wares can date back to more than 1200 years ago in the Kaiyuan period of Tang Dynasty. In 1917, six painters in Pingyao including Qiao Shengrui and Ren Maolin cofounded Hecheng Workshop, which produced lacquer wares. Most of their products with a special style and high quality were sold out in foreign countries like Japan and France. In 1937, after the anti-Japanese war broke out, they stopped their business, and after 1950s Pingyao polished lacquer wares started entering the market and thrived again.
The polished painted devices are made of lacquer trees，which is also called old lacquer tree or big lacquer tree. The making procedure is unique. Firstly, select the suitable woods and make models. Then paint the models with pig blood and brick powder and polish them. Next paint the models with the natural old paint and polish them. This step has to be repeated for many times. At last, polish the surface with sesame oil，and then after refinement, golden and colorful painting, a variety of pictures such as mountains, rivers, pavilions and pillars, rare animals and plants will appear which are shiny like a mirror. Therefore they are also called the golden lacquer furniture. The polished lacquer wares, with shiny and smooth surface, exquisite painting, distinctive colors, and proportionate lines, can not only be used for decoration because of their unique national feature and local style, but have practical values as well, because they are smart but firm, water-proof and can stand the high temperature.
Datong Artistic Porcelain
The production of porcelain in Datong has a long history which can date back to more than 1400 years ago. The most prosperous time is in Tang Dynasty. In Song Dynasty, pottery was utilized in the military to make an explosive weapon called porcelain mine.
Datong artistic porcelain is produced in the porcelain factory of the coal mine of Meiyukou in Datong. The diverse porcelain products have very special and new designs. Among them, those children toys with distinctive local style are appealing in particular. There are more than 130 kinds of porcelain products with several hundred designs, of which some are about the local traditions and the mythologies such as the big belly Buddha, old long-live god, goddesses throwing flowers, Chang’e flying to the moon and the Pig from the Journey to the West having watermelon.
Datong artistic porcelain is a miracle among the tourism artistic products of Datong. It is well-known all over the world for its special design, unique image, diverse types and abundant themes.
Flour Sculpture of Lan County
Lancheng Town of Lan County in Shanxi is the homeland of flour sculpture. The flour sculpture here is well-known all over the country and the local people make a great many beautiful flour sculptures with their exquisite skills. Examples such as livestock and poultry which symbolize the prosperity of agriculture, cranes, god of longevity, and peach of longevity that stand for long life, 如意which means fortune and happiness, and fish jumping over the dragon gate and other historic stories and legends like Monk Tang, Monkey King and so on.
In making the flour sculptures, not only the materials have to be chosen very cautiously, but also the steps including squeezing, cutting, twisting, pressing, spreading, folding, embedding, arranging, compressing, painting and color matching needs much attention.
Qingxu Black Pottery
Black pottery is the treasure of the ancient Chinese culture and the crystallization of the ancient culture and wisdom in China. It originated in Da Wenkou culture and Longshan culture. During the periods of Spring-Autumn and Warring Kingdoms, the black pottery art reached the peak, and the products were not only some simple daily necessities but also many antique, solemn, beautiful and elegant artistic works which appealed to the emperors, officials and noble class in the following dynasties. The black pottery products are appreciated by people all over the world due to the unique artistic style. Black pottery impresses people with both solemnity and elegance. The deep connotations of black pottery, as a symbol of the ancient Chinese culture, are similar to the thought of the ancient Chinese Taoism that no contest is the most powerful. The black pottery products also receive much attention from the leaders of China, and they are often given to the foreign friends as valuable gifts. The Foreign Ministry has already listed it as a national gift.
Taiyuan Jade Carving
Taiyuan jade carving, with a long history and delicate carving techniques, is diversified made of high-quality stones. It is the symbol of the ancient culture of Taiyuan, and also the crystallization of the Taiyuan people’s wisdom. Taiyuan is rich in the resources of jade. Loufan County produces jade stones; Jinzhong area produces green nephrite and corundum; Xia County of Jinnan produces jasper；Xiangning of Linfen produces agnate. It is just because of the rich resources that Taiyuan jade carving is constantly developing from the ancient time to the modern time. Taiyuan jade carving is done according to the quality of the jade. The jade carving products created by the masters are excellent in color, shape and form. In recent years, Taiyuan jade carving has been refined in some aspects. For example, based on the traditional way of Taiyuan jade sculptures, the sculpture masters make some innovations and create many new jade carving products of high artistic level.
Ink Stone of Mount Wutai
The ink stone of Mount Wutai is called Tai Yan or Duan Yan for short. The stone is from Mount Wen, so it is called Mount Wen ink stone as well. Tai Yan has some other names like Duan Yan, Feng Yan and Guo Yan due to the names of the mountains and the changes of the administrative districts. In Qing Dynasty, a legal official Jinshi wrote an essay For Guo Yan to praise Guo Yan, but because of the great reputation of Mount Wutai, the name Tai Yan has been adopted and inherited while other names are gradually forgotten and out of use.
There are four kinds of stones used to make Mount Wutai ink stone: black, green, red and purple, which are pure and beautiful. The ink stone originated in Ming Dynasty and differences exist between Duan Yan, Feng Yan and Guo Yan. The waves on the ink stone are like the pine tree leaves on Mount Wutai, clear, handsome and masculine. The ink stone is smooth but not slippery. When you beat it, there is hardly any sound. It feels as cold as ice. The ink will be integrated with water quickly on the ink stone and the density is just appropriate for use, so it was always vey popular among the writers and scholars.
Xinjiang Cloud Carving
Xinjiang cloud carving is a type of lacquer carving products with pictures of colorful fortune clouds. It is designed in an antique and elegant style. The lacquer is shiny; the carving is very exquisite and the pictures have very clear-cut structures. Take the cloud carving table for example, if you stare at the table for more than 10 seconds, you will feel as if the colorful clouds were flying slowly.
Jiangzhou cloud carving, which can date back to the Jiajing period of Ming Dynasty, has formed a unique style after a series of modifications for so many dynasties. The procedure of making cloud carving is as below: firstly, paint red and black lacquer layers on the wooden models, generally 70 to 80 layers and more than 100 layers at most sometimes. Then carve the cloud waves with a sharp burin, which is 5 millimeters deep, wide in the upside and narrow in the downside with patterns of different colors and layers which seem like colorful clouds of different shapes. Jiangzhou cloud carving features its delicate structure, shiny and smooth surface, clear-cut layers and antiqueness. It can be found in the decoration of the palace of Qing Dynasty.